Tuesday, July 31, 2012

REVIEW: "HAOLE WOOD" - by Dee DeTarsio

by Dee DeTarsio

REVIEWED BY: Ellen Fritz


When San Diego weather caster, Jaswinder Park, is mysteriously summoned to the island of Maui in Hawaii to help her grandmother, she ends up losing her job. This fair-haired, light-skinned foreigner, called haole by the natives, decides to stay in Maui for a couple of days until she can figure out what to do with her life. She realizes that her quick trip to Maui may not be all she’s hoping for when:

-She has to bail her Hawaiian/Korean grandmother out of jail for possession of pakalolo.

-The only thing she can understand her grandmother say is: “Not that.

-She can’t decide which hurts worse, her sunburn, hangover, or memories of the night before.

-She’s labeled the “Liquor Licker” on the front page of the Maui News in a photo that shows her doing a shot of tequila with a hunky Hawaiian who’s been found dead.

-It seems she’s had orgasms that have lasted longer than her career.

-She scrapes the bottom of the barrel to find her guardian angel. 

Beautiful fabric found in her grandmother’s closet unfolds a future for Jaswinder as she designs sensuous silky wraps called sunshminas that provide sun protection. She tries for a Hollywood connection, but her company, Haole Wood, has some growing pains. From trying to find a killer, to selling her sunshminas, to lusting after Dr. Jac, the island dermatologist, to trying to ignore her so-called guardian angel, can Jaswinder learn to embrace the island way of life? Aloha!


Haole Wood is definitely the funniest and wittiest book I have read in quite a while.  When Jaswinder Park has to bail her grandmother out of jail for the possession of pacalolo, her problems on the Hawaiian island Maui have just started.  After losing her job as a san Diego weather caster, getting a really bad sun burn, being photographed with a murder victim and being beaten up by said murder victim's mother, Jaswinder's stay on Maui is turning out not to be much fun at all.  Bring into this equation the handsome dr. Jack and a rather unusual, wisdom spouting guardian angel and you have a story that demands to be read in one go.

As one failed attempt to solve the murder and to start her own business followed another, I started to wonder whether Jaswinder could do anything at all without botching it.  This would be serious was it not for the humorous way in which the story is told.  The main character has a unique capacity for getting herself into wildly embarrassing situations and saying just the wrong thing at the wrong time.  The reader gets a look into Jaswinder's thoughts and inner dialogue which are, even at the most serious moments, absolutely hilarious.  The author frequently refers to popular culture which gives the whole story just that much more life and credibility.
Colorful descriptions of the people of the island and the natural scenery adds to the magic of the book.  Meet Zev, Bronco and Kenny, the hot surfers, who try to teach Jaswinder how to surf, Lana Ho the stunningly beautiful island entertainer and of course Jaswinder's Halmoni who only knows two English words. 

If you are looking for a hilariously funny and extremely lively story, Haole Wood is the book for you.  Amidst all this humor and excitement, there are some pearls of wisdom tastefully worked into the dialogue and thoughts of the characters.

Not only does Dee DeTarsio write an excellent and spellbinding story but she is an absolute genius with wordplay.  There are even some sweet romantic scenes for those who like a bit of romance in a book.  Haole Wood is a must read deserving of far more than 5 stars.



“Haole Wood” by Dee DeTarsio has 14 reviews on GoodReads. Read it here.



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Ellen, How do I love thee...?! Aloha and Mahalo for such a fun and thoughtful review of Haole Wood! I am so glad you liked it--thank you, thank you!